But I have no bike. Like a fool, I left Lucille, my trustiest of steeds, under the hall table back in New York. What was I thinking? She could have gone in overhead!
I decide to rent. I find a listing for a Hollywood bike shop nearby, but it has such lousy Yelp ratings (bad attitude, which my sister staunchly confirms), that I opt instead to take the bus out to Cheviot Hills and try my luck at the Beverly Hills Bike Shop (sic).
When I get there, I like the place right away. Feels like Zen Bikes but on the West Coast: great selection:
In the 70s, I lived in LA and tried biking here a couple of times. With such wide streets and such consistently good weather you’d think the place would be ideal for biking. But all streets had been fully given over to cars, and narrow trenches for rain run-off lined the streets - just wide enough to trap a bicycle tire. There were no bike lanes, and I very quickly discovered this was just not the place for cycling.
I haven’t tried it since. So I’m testing the waters on this first ride home. Rather than take Pico Blvd itself – a main artery with no bike lane – I use the pavement along side it (hey, no one else is using it) until I can turn off onto a less busy cross street (my motto: When In Doubt, Ninny Out).
I’m surprised to find myself back home in no time, and the ride was a breeze. Meanwhile, the sun is still shining, the sky is still clear (3pm, the sun would be starting to go down in NYC). I wonder if there's enough time for a ride to the beach…
I’ve spoken to Esteban about this, but all I remember is his telling me to take Venice Blvd which he says has a bike lane. It’s about a 10-mile ride, and once you get to Venice, he says you can ride south for 30 miles or so.
It sounds so promising, I have to try it. Once again, I ride sidewalks - this time down Stearns Drive - all the way to Venice Blvd. But the sidewalks on this street are in rotten shape with tree roots upending the pavement entirely, forcing me to dismount more than once.
When I get to Venice Blvd, I find it does have a big honkin’ bike lane - on both sides.
It is actually.
About 10 blocks in, the path becomes private and bikes are kicked off. WTF? Some of us use “Speedway,” a back street which works for a few more blocks until you hit the Marina. But bikes are banned again when you get there. What to do?
I content myself that I have made it this far. Returning home on Venice, I determine to figure out a better route next time.